An Bord Pleanala ignores their own inspector and grants permission for Bullock Harbour development

HERE’S THE BAD NEWS re the proposed Bartra development for Bullock Harbour. In today’s post (2 July 2019) a letter from An Bord Pleanala with the decision to “GRANT permission for the above proposed development …”. The letter is long and not easily captured in a few words or in an image but note “In deciding not to accept the Inspector’s recommendation to refuse permission…” That is, ABP’s own inspector recommended against the development and the board chose to overrule them.

There’s a lot to say but we’ll leave it here for now. More to follow.

Hugh Leonard walk of Dalkey


The final event in the Bullock 200 series is the Hugh Leonard Walk of Dalkey – it takes place on Tuesday 14 May 2019 at 7pm from Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre. As numbers are necessarily limited to a maximum of 32 participants, booking is essential: see below.

For the last 25 years of his life Dalkey playwright Hugh Leonard lived in Bullock.  This walk will visit places featured in his work and remember some of his plays, memoirs and Sunday satires. It will be guided by his daughter Danielle Keyes Byrne, assisted by actor Michael Heavey, with the support of the Dalkey Heritage Centre team. The walk is scheduled to last 60-90 minutes.

How to book: we are charging a small fee of €5.60 per person to cover incidental costs. Any surplus will go to the Bullock Harbour Preservation Association fighting fund. You can book your place(s) on Eventbrite here.

Please address your queries to our email address which is Thank you!

Repairs continue to Bullock pier

On Thursday 21st March Eamon McElroy, the Dublin Port Company Engineer, hosted another information session on Bullock Pier.  He was accompanied by the Consulting Engineer and the Contractors of the repair project.  They explained the process to date of finding and identifying the correct original position of every granite block displaced by Storm Emma 12 months ago.  They have also experimented to find the most appropriate mortars to use for the backfilling and pointing of the pier.  Only the top course of granite blocks now remain to re-positioned, and this will be completed in the next few weeks.

Work has also been underway to plan repairs to the south-western inner corner of the pier which has been subsiding progressively since last summer, and is liable to collapse.  This is due to scouring of the harbour bottom caused by eddy currents at the base of the pier.  As a precaution all the granite blocks in this area have been numerically coded to facilitate the rebuilding process. The corner will be dismantled and reassembled on new concrete foundations.  We hope that the pier will be fully re-instated before the 2019 summer season.

Harbour repairs

Severely damaged by the March 2018 “beast from the east” storm, Bullock Harbour repairs are being undertaken by Dublin Port Company and are the subject of the next talk in the Bullock 200 series. Special correspondent Brian Meyer reports…

The next talk in the Bullock 200 series is “Bullock Harbour into the Future – Monitoring and Repairs” presented by Eamon McElroy, Port Engineer, Dublin Port Company on Tuesday 12 February 2019 at 8pm at Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre. The lectures are free to attend and no booking is required. We suggest turning up in good time to secure a good seat

In January Dublin Port invited a small group from Bulloch Harbour Preservation Association to view the work in progress on Bullock Pier.  The Consultant Engineers and Contractors explained the various aspects of the project.  All the cut stone dislodged by the storm has been identified and marked as to its original location.  Trials are in progress on the most appropriate mortars to use for each part of the reconstruction, the outer pointing, the interior of the pier, above sea level and below.  Interesting discoveries have also been made on the techniques used in the original construction in 1818/19.

The south-western corner of the pier by the wooden ladder has continued to deteriorate as the gaps in the masonry are constantly growing.  The corner has been surveyed and the blocks marked so that they could be more easily re-positioned in the event of a collapse.  Divers have inspected the base of the pier to establish the cause of the recent movement, and identify appropriate interventions.


Professor Elizabeth Shotton talk on Bullock Harbour

The next lecture in the Bullock 200 series will be given by Professor Elizabeth Shotton from the UCD College of Engineering and Architecture – Tuesday 22nd January, 8pm at Dalkey Castle. At the time of writing bookings have already reached the 100 mark so if you want to attend, do not wait to book. Just reserve your place by emailing The talk is free to attend.

We have heard Professor Shotton speak about Bullock and other harbours – she has researched the history of maritime engineering of “minor harbours” of Ireland from the 17th Century and we can tell you that this promises to be a cracking talk.

Do note that the Bullock 200 events are held at Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre but not organised by them, rather by Bullock Harbour Preservation Association and Dublin Port Company. So, if you have questions other than relating to bookings and venue facilities, please email us at Thank you!

Storm damage repairs

Repairs to harbour after two major storms in March

Bulloch Harbour Preservation Association reports…  Following major storm damage to the Bullock Harbour piers in March 2018, as graphically illustrated in the photo below, Dublin Port Company tell us that they have now completed all the necessary surveys, and received the required permissions to work on the foreshore and repair the protected structure of the pier. Contractors have been appointed and work commenced mid November on installing extended safety fencing around the construction area.  All the displaced granite blocks from the harbour wall will be lifted and laid out on the pier so that the quay can be reassembled and reinstated in its original form. This is scheduled to happen over the coming weeks.

In addition to the storm damage in March, over the last few months there has been new movement of the blocks at the southern inside corner of the end of the pier close to the heavy wooden ladder.  Dublin Port Company is monitoring the situation and will investigate this problem as part of the current works on the site.

Storm damage to Bullock piers- March 2018

Responding to correspondence from An Bord Pleanala

Responding to correspondence from An Bord Pleanala

You have recently received a large pack of documentation if you submitted observations to An Bord Pleanala (ABP) in March or April of this year regarding Bartra Property (Dublin) Ltd’s appeal against the decision by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to refuse planning permission for the proposed development at the former Western Marine site at Bullock Harbour.  The sequence of events is this:

  1. Bartra submitted a new planning application for the former Western Marine site to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLR) in December 2017
  2. DLR refused planning permission in February 2018
  3. Bartra appealed to An Bord Pleanala in March 2018
  4. DLR submitted observations on Bartra’s appeal to ABP in on 18 April 2018
  5. Many other parties, including ourselves, submitted observations on Bartra’s appeal to ABP in March/April 2018.
  6. Bartra submitted to ABP their response to DLR’s observations July 2018.
  7. If you submitted observations to ABP on the Bartra appeal, you have now been sent the documentation relating to points 4 and 6 above and have been invited to comment.

Options are (a) not to respond (you are under no obligation to do so), (b) respond to some of the points in the new package or (c) respond comprehensively to the points in the new package.  Points to note:

  • No fee is required to make a response.
  • You are required to quote the reference number in any correspondence with An Bord Pleanala ABP-301237-18.
  • You are required to respond by 22 August 2018.
  • ABP are clear that they are seeking comments on the contents of the package i.e. new information only and not generally on the planning application.
  • If, when you submitted your observation to ABP in April, you included other people’s observations in your envelope, please let these others know. It is not clear to us if they can respond independently to the latest ABP request but they may wish to work with you on a joint response.
  • DLR has uploaded the pack of documents to their planning site. Link provided .  This is not the easiest site to navigate and links don’t always open.  Go to Documents and then page 19 of the planning application D17A/1135 and look for the post of 3 August 2018.

Composing a response

Your response needs to be your own.  Standard or template responses do not carry weight.  We set out below points which we have noted and will probably include in our submission.  You may want to draw on these in composing your own response.

We have found the 18 April DLR documentation to be lucid and written in relatively plain English.  They set out their reasons for opposing the appeal and you may wish to support the statements offered by them.

The 9 July Bartra response focuses on “risk of flooding and wave overtopping” includes the following elements:  a letter from Doyle Kent Planning and an associated report from CS Consulting group, together with some site plans.  We are not proposing to offer advice on how to frame comments regarding the technical or the statistical aspects of the report.

Bartra’s submission acknowledges that their original report vastly under-estimated the volume of water that reaches the site in severe easterly/north easterly storms and over-topping episodes.  They do not address the method of drainage adequately.  They propose that parts of the site would have to be avoided during such episodes.  They continue to represent the waver over-topping as “spray”, fail to mention the projectiles (i.e. rocks and debris) that are borne by the waves, and under-estimate the duration of these episodes – they lasted many hours each day of over-topping that occurred during the March 2018 storms.

If you are able to cite personal experience of flooding and wave-overtopping at Bullock in support of this, then do mention.

The council’s submission discusses the W Zoning in which Bullock falls.  Bartra’s submission states that “the proposed development fully accords with the current zoning”.   In fact, as the council points out the W Zoning has the objective of permitting “to provide for waterfront development and harbour related uses”.  A number of other uses, of which residential housing is only one, are additionally “open for consideration”.  We continue to contend, as does the council, that a development that is primarily residential is not compatible with W zoning.

Bartra’s consultants attempt to draw parallels between the Western Marine site and Coliemore apartments.  The apartment site there is protected from extreme overtopping in north-easterly storms by Dalkey Island and is not comparable to Bullock at all.  The waves there run NW to SE and vice versa along the length of the Dalkey Sound, and not towards the shore.  We are expecting that many responses will have fun with that.

Finally:  If you do respond to ABP’s invitation to comment, it would be useful if you could copy or at least let us know that you are participating.  Please email

Thank you

Bullock Harbour Preservation Assoc

Bartra’s appeal to An Bord Pleanala

Bartra’s appeal to An Bord Pleanala is available to read on the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown planning site here.

The developer is appealing the refusal to grant planning permission for their latest planning application for the former Western Marine site.

Bulloch Harbour Preservation Association is assessing the appeal document and will be issuing guidance here on what can be included in “observations” on the appeal.  And on how to submit observations to An Bord Pleanala.  Time is tight – so please watch this site or our Facebook group Save Bulloch Harbour for instructions.  Thank you to the many expressions of support received.  Some 270 observations were lodged with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown on this planning application which was refused in February.


Bartra Property appeal DLR planning refusal

Bartra Property group has appealed the refusal of their planning application by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council planners.

The Irish system is that appeals to planning refusals are made to An Bord Pleanala – and the reference number for the appeal is ABP-301237-18.  The county council will make the content of the Bartra appeal publicly available.

Individuals and organisations who made observations on the planning application earlier this year may make observations on the appeal.  The cost of doing so is an unequivocal €50.  More information re how to “observe” will be published on this website and on our Save Bulloch Harbour Facebook page.

Planning permission refused

The recent planning application by Bartra Property group for the site adjacent to Bulloch Harbour was rejected by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown planners on 22 February 2018.

The decision came a mere two and a half weeks after the closing date for “observations”.  Around 270 observations were submitted by local people, user groups, community organisations, politicians, statutory bodies and interest groups.  Bulloch Harbour Preservation Association, which led the campaign against the planning application, would like to thank the hundreds of supporters who contributed to the right decision being made.  “This is great news.  We are very relieved but acknowledge that this is only the latest skirmish in what may be a long war” said an association spokesman. ”  The developer has four weeks to lodge an appeal with An Bord Pleanala, should they decide to do so.

The council’s reasons for turning down the application were emphatic:

“In relation to the significant imbalance and predominance of residential use in the proposal and having regard to the low percentage of overall floor area being provided for the marine related uses together with the low developable site area being provided to support and service such uses, it is considered that insufficient provision has been made for waterfront, harbour and marine related uses. It is considered that the amount of site area reserved for residential use is excessive and seriously compromises the achievement of a quality mixed use and integrated development with adequate and appropriate provision for waterfront, marine and harbour related activities. It is therefore considered that the development as proposed would seriously compromise the harbour’s ability to attract and maintain good marine related uses and harbour activities, would limit the scale and diversity of such uses, which the harbour could support and would be contrary to the ‘W’ zoning objective for this site which is ‘to provide for waterfront development and harbour related uses’. The Planning Authority therefore considers that the development as proposed would be contrary to the zoning objective for this location of providing for waterfront development and marine related uses and would also be contrary to the requirements of Specific Local Objective 22 as set out in the 2016 – 2022 Dun Laoghaire -Rathdown County Development Plan. The proposed development would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of this area. 2. It is considered that the lack of an integrated design approach and the almost exclusive use of the majority of the site area for residential use would seriously erode and weaken the existing ‘W’ land use zoning objective for the site of providing for waterfront, marine and harbour related uses. This would undermine the existing land use zoning objective for this site and would seriously compromise the harbour’s ability to attract and maintain good marine related uses. It would also limit the scale and diversity of uses, which the harbour could support and would be contrary to the zoning objective for this site which is to provide for waterfront development and harbour related uses. The proposed development would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of this area. 3. Given the prominent harbour and coastal location of the proposed development and taking into account the special character of the immediate harbour area, concerns exist that the proposed quayside elements are visually and physically segregated from the rear of the development site with no meaningful integration, visually or functionally. The proposed development fails therefore to respond appropriately to the unique site context, which requires a high quality, distinctive and integrated mixed use design approach, which considers the site holistically and responds appropriately to the special character of the area and seeks to strengthen and reinforce a positive sense of place at this location. The proposed development would therefore be seriously injurious to the special character and amenities of the harbour area and contrary to the requirements of Specific Local Objective 22 as set out in the 2016 – 2022 Dun Laoghaire -Rathdown County Development Plan. The proposed development would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of this area. NOTE: The applicant is advised that the Council’s Drainage Planning report in respect of this application highlights significant coastal flooding issues at this location. The report recommends a refusal of permission for the two apartments proposed within the quayside block and recommends seeking further information with respect to flood defence measures for the other elements of the development.”


5 February 2018 deadline for Bullock planning objections

“It’s a numbers game” was the political opinion at our public meeting on Tuesday 23 January 2018.  If you find the buildings in this planning application objectionable, then it is important that you lodge an objection with the planning authority.  It is by far the most important act of citizenship open to you in this situation and the only one that the decision makers among Dun Laoghaire Rathdown planners are required to take into account.

We’ve posted how-to guidance on lodging your “observation” here.   You can lodge your observation on line: some words of explanation are here.  Further advice on lodging observations are here.

Thank you for your support. 

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